Zadeh explores debates in the course of Islamic intellectual history over translating the Quran and their relation to broader theoretical problems for the fields of translation studies, the history of ideas, and the philosophy of language. Historically, there has been a strong current of thought in Islamic religious discourse that has rejected the possibility of translating the Quran on theological grounds, based largely on the notion that the text exhibits such supreme and inimitable eloquence that translation is itself impossible. By probing the broader social, historical, and ideological frameworks governing these debates, Zadeh questions how it is that the Quran is translatable.
Travis Zadeh is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University. His research focuses on translation, broadly construed, within Islamic intellectual and cultural history.